Answering the Beast

By Jon Bowles

27 January 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

Last week, in the sermon on "The Unwavering Christian," Mr. Pippy brought out quite a lot to our attention from the book of Daniel. Certainly, if you haven't heard that sermon, please go back and listen to it because it was an excellent sermon. It was certainly something that we need to be reminded of. One of the things that he did remind us of, if you want to turn over to Daniel 3, it's an event that took place here with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I want to just highlight here what the reply was to Nebuchadnezzar. So here is this butcher, quite frankly, Nebuchadnezzar had been to various people that he'd conquered; and also he was a complete dictator of a kind that really we don't see today at the present time -- or at least very, very rarely at these present times.

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered [he answered this dictator, this butcher] and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter.

We're not going to mince our words. We're just going to answer you completely straight, as far as this problem is concerned.

Daniel 3:17-18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, [then]he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. (18) But if not,[still, let it] be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.

They are quite categorical in their denial of being able to do what the king was wanting and certainly that, in the sermon last week, it was pointed out, we do need backbone. And we need to make sure that backbone is not our power, but it does actually come from God; and certainly these examples throughout Daniel show that, that it's not our power that does this. It's something which is coming from God. We are told, in I Peter 3:15 {1}, if you want to put that in your notes, don't turn there necessarily. Put it in your notes, I Peter 3:15 that we should always be ready, ready to give an answer, if we're asked of it, for the reason for the hope that's in us. In other words, there's a little bit more than just for the hope that's in us. It's for the reason for the hope that's in us; and we answer when we're asked, and we need to if somebody was to ask us about that. But we need to be ready to do that.

And here we find ourself at this present time, at this present juncture in the world; and certain things are prophesied and these things that are prophesied, which is what I'll be going into today, do behoove each and every one of us to be ready to give a certain answer, to be able to be ready to be able to give an answer to those that will, undoubtedly be asking us for the reasons for the hope that is actually lying within us. In fact, it is going to become so bad (and it certainly has been in the past when you're looking at the Middle Ages and so on) as it says again, put it in your notes, don't turn to it, John 16:2 {2}, where it says that those that kill you will think they're doing God a service. They're actually killing you, thinking they're actually serving God and its God's will that they need to put you to death.

Now, what I want to actually talk about today and the area that I want to go ahead and really cover as far as being an unwavering Christian, as far as applying what we heard last week, the examples that we read last week and applying them in a modern context is really, if you want to have a title for the sermon, it is "Answering the Beast." "Answering the Beast" because the Beast is going to start to impose certain things on us that are quite specific -- not on us, but on the world in general. Certainly, when you look at the mark of the Beast, which is specifically what I'll be talking about, I want to point you back to the transcript that I just posted on the website. You go into the article section on the Church website. It's also on www.getbackontrack.org. The article, the transcript about the mark of the Beast, which is the sermon that Mr. Armstrong gave; and in that sermon he mentions, he says:

"Anyway, this whole system of Gentile governments began with Nebuchadnezzar; [We've just read this account here of these individuals, that say, "Look, we're not careful to answer you about this matter. We're going to do this because this is the way that God says that we should be living." And we should be able to take this example here and apply it ourself in the future.]; and now we find the LAST RESURRECTION OF IT IS COMING UP. AND IT MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU AND ME. AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE ENFORCED AND YOU ARE GOING TO RISK YOUR LIFE ON IT in the very near future. It is speaking of these very same things. Jesus said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear." And I say to you, if you have ears to hear, you BETTER hear; and you had BETTER UNDERSTAND. And don't take this lightly, because your life is going to be at stake."

Go back and you read that transcript. Go back and you listen to the sermon on "The Mark of the Beast" that Mr. Armstrong gave. And it's quite clear that he felt that this was something that we are going to have to face before the Church flees. It's not a case that just Laodicea is going to be facing this. It is something that the Church itself will also be facing before the Church flees. So what I've got to do today is I've got to try and show you, by using the title "Answering the Beast," what lies behind this mark of the Beast because there are certain things that have been said by this present Pope that has a great deal to tell us. And the five areas I want to cover today:

The Catholic Church vs The West: (PLAY FROM 7:20)

So let's look at this first area then regarding the Catholic Church versus the West. Now, what I'd like to point out to you is something that actually Mr. Ian Henderson sent it to me just this morning; and I thought this really fits in so well with this particular point regarding the Catholic Church and their view of the West because here is another religion completely, Islam, looking at the West. This article is talking, where is it actually coming from? It's World-Net Daily.

"Iran prepares people for 'messiah miracles' {3} Government broadcasts series on imminent appearance of apocalyptic Islamic 'Mahdi' ... Imam Mahdi will be the leader while Prophet Jesus will act as his lieutenant in the struggle against oppression and establishment of justice in the world. Jesus had himself given the tidings of the coming of God's last messenger and will see Mohammad's ideals materialize in the time of the Mahdi."

So I wanted to show you that the way that the Islam is looking at the so-called Christianity, he is looking at Christianity and Christ as well, not as "the Christ" but as a prophet. They do recognize Jesus as a prophet, a prophet of Islam. That's what they look for Him as. But, it's interesting that when you look at Ahmadinejad (I believe I've got it right), but Ahmadinejad made a comment, according to an Iranian Student News Agency report cited by YnetNews.com . He said:

"My one question from the Christians is: What would Jesus do if he were present in the world today? What would he do before some of the oppressive powers of the world who are in fact residing in Christian countries? Which powers would he revive and which of them would he destroy?" asked the Iranian leader. "If Jesus were present today, who would be facing him and who would be following him?"

I thought that was very good, a very interesting comment. He sees the West and he sees the complete hypocrisy that is here in the West, the decadence that is here in the West; and he says, "Okay, this Jesus that they claim to be worshipping actually arrives, who would be with Him and who would be actually against Him?"

Ahmadinejad's mystical pre-occupation with the coming of the Mahdi is raising concerns that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world.

In a videotaped meeting with Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli in Tehran, Ahmadinejad discussed candidly a strange, paranormal experience he had while addressing the United Nations in New York last September.

He recounts how he found himself bathed in light throughout the speech. But this wasn't the light directed at the podium by the U.N. and television cameras. It was, he said, a light from heaven.

Ahmadinejad is urging Iranians to prepare for the coming of the Mahdi by turning the country into a mighty and advanced Islamic society and by avoiding the corruption and excesses of the West.

You see, the only thing that can counter this, as I've brought out in the News Analysis many times, is not the way that the Western World is today. The Western World today, morally and from a conscience-wise, is corrupt. It is on the verge of destruction. But it says:

All Iran is buzzing about the Mahdi, the 12th imam, and the role Iran and Ahmadinejad are playing in his anticipated return. There's a new messiah hotline. There are news agencies especially devoted to the latest developments.

"People are anxious to know when and how will He rise; what they must do to receive this worldwide salvation," says Ali Lari, a cleric at the Bright Future Institute in Iran's religious center of Qom. "The timing is not clear, but the conditions are more specific," he adds. "There is a saying: 'When the students are ready, the teacher will come.'"

So what they're trying to is, they are trying to go ahead and prepare for the arrival down in that area; and it is very, very concerning to the Western world, yes, but to all the other civilizations on Earth. The problem is that, if you turn over to Ezekiel 36, we find what God says about Israel, because that's what He's looking at. He's looking at Israel.

Ezekiel 36:17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land ...

And let's make sure we know who the house of Israel is. It's Ephraim and Manasseh. They have the name of Israel. So that's the predominant nations. We're looking at America, Britain, Canada, the areas around Australia and New Zealand. It's the English-speaking peoples.

Ezekiel 36:17-18 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. (18) Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it.

Our land is full of idols, all kinds of things; and it's absolutely brimful with blood when you look at abortion, absolutely brimful.

Ezekiel 36:19-23 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. (20) And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the [ETERNAL], and are gone forth out of his land. [As Ahmadinejad was saying, you know, who is going to be in front of Christ and who is going to be with Him when you look at what their relations are like.](21) But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. (22) Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither you went. (23) And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the [ETERNAL], says the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

So we see quite clearly from this scripture that there's a real problem as far as Israel is concerned. When we look at some of the headlines today, there is indeed a real problem. This is one from last Thursday, January 25th. "Blair retreats over Church opt-out for Gay Adoption."

Now, I don't know, those of you over in America and Canada probably haven't been following this; but there is legislation going through the British Parliament which is banning the preferential treatment to one group as opposed to another. In other words, you cannot go ahead and discriminate against homosexuality in goods or services; and the goods and services include whether they get a child or not from an adoption agency. They were going to try and exclude certain church adoption agencies but apparently ...

LONDON -- Prime Minister Blair caved in last night in the battle over homosexual adoption in the face of a full-blown Cabinet revolt {4}.

In a stark illustration of his diminishing authority, Mr. Blair has been forced to accept a deal that will rule out any exemptions for Roman Catholic adoption agencies from gay-rights laws.

It's the Roman Catholic adoption agencies and it's the Roman Catholic stance that is giving some real backbone, if you like, to the country. Another article that appeared, this was in Thursday's again, inside. It says: "Adopt? We were 'too idealistic.' {5}" It's talking about a couple here who went to adopt a child, and it says:

They were desperate to give a child a home ...

They were wealthy, upstanding, moral middleclass citizens. They could have done it no problems at all, mature and so on.

They were desperate to give a child a home, but their Christianity and restrained views on homosexuality meant Sonia Maples and her husband had no chance.

So, in other words, because they were Christian; and they were therefore ... And they said, "Look, if the child wants to say at home while we go to church, we'll make sure one of us stays with them, if they don't want to come to church." But, no, it was because of the moral ground. Because of that and because they said, "Look, we cannot go ahead and say that ... " It says here, let me see if I can find the actual part:

The social workers were keen to know how we would react if a child announced that he or she was gay. We said that we believe that the same ground rules apply whether you are gay or heterosexual: that sex before marriage is wrong. We don't believe in same-sex marriages; but, if a child told us he or she was gay, we would still love that child even if we didn't agree with the lifestyle they chose.

In our social club we have gay and bisexual people: they've had problems with their families and we've supported them. If they are not following a faith that says that their lifestyle is wrong, then we shouldn't and wouldn't condemn it. We are not homophobic and yet the social worker warned us our views would prejudice our chances of adopting.

Because they didn't support, it therefore wasn't good enough. That's not enough. You see, what's happening to society, when you look at society? Another article here, from Thursday January 11th about a week ago. It says "Far-Right leaders unite to defend 'family life and European civilization' {6}" It says:

Far-right leaders from across the European Union announced yesterday that they have formed a parliamentary group, calling itself "Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty," with sufficient numbers to qualify for EU funding. [There's enough support that they can get EU funding because of this, and they are far right.]

The group, which includes Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French National Front leader, plans to confirm its official status at the opening session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday.

Now if you go back and look at your history, and you find out how Hitler came to power, he didn't have much support initially; but he did later on. When you're looking at this confrontation between the ideas of religion and the ideas of the West -- the secular, hedonistic ideas of the West -- it is not just from Islam. It is coming from the Catholic Church as well. I want to just give you some quotes from the previous Pope. This is John Paul II. He said:

"The future of humanity passes by way of the family" (John Paul II, Familaris Consortio, n.86)

These are a number of quotes he was supposed to have said and built what he said around them I'll just give you a few of them.

"Family is the sanctuary of life." (John Paul II, Centismus Annus 1991)

It is! It should open anybody's eyes. Any half a brain should be able to see the sanctuary of life, where life is nurtured, is in the family. That's where it comes from. That's where the next generation comes from. Another one:

"Democracy can be idolized to the point of making it a substitute for morality or a panacea for immorality." (John Paul II, Letter to Families, 1994)

That is dead right. We're going to give Democracy to Iraq. Wonderful! Look at it -- a panacea for immorality. Another one:

"Masculinization of women should be avoided as it is contrary to feminine originality, and it will not reach fulfillment but deform what constitutes their original and essential richness." (John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem)

Don't these things hold true? And where is it coming from? The Catholic Church.

"DeChristianization usually combines with demoralisation. Subjectivism, utilitarianism and relativism try to claim the full cultural and social legitimacy" (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor)

In other words, everything's relative. "You can go ahead and do what you like, and I can do what I like, as long as we don't criticize each other." And that, therefore, it tries to claim the full cultural and social legitimacy; and it isn't. The Catholic Church has dug in their heels over this adoption rights of gay couples -- of homosexual couples. Let's use the correct terms.

"All too often, the fruits of scientific progress, rather than being placed at the service of the entire community, are distributed in such a way that unjust inequalities are actually increased or even rendered permanent ( ... ) The Catholic Church has consistently taught that there is a 'social mortgage' on all private property [That's an interesting one, isn't it?], a concept which today may also be applied to intellectual property and to knowledge. The law of profit alone cannot be applied to that which is essential, for the fight against hunger, disease and poverty." (John Paul II, 23/9/99, Address to delegation of Jubilee 2000 debt program).

Again, there's a ring of truth through what he is saying. He also had another concept you will that he was against Western hedonism. He had an actual discourse that he developed (This is John Paul II.), which the present Benedict is building on. It was called the "Theology of the Body." And that theology of the body was something that he pointed people to in regard particularly to the young and the morality. That's what he's talking about. He's talking about morality. So, when we're looking at the difference between the Catholic Church and the Western values, they are marked. You can see them. The difference between religious values and the Western values, they are the difference between our values and the Western values. They should be. We should be able to look at it in a similar way, but not from their basis; and this is where the problems start to come. You know, Satan is in control of this world. He is going to organize things the way he wants to, but only as far as God allows him to.

What the Bible Says About the Mark of the Beast: (PLAY FROM 22:14)

When we come in to review what the Bible says about the mark of the Beast, let's just go through a few of the scriptures and just remind ourself a little bit, all within Revelation. Let's go over to Revelation, and we'll just go through each time where the mark of the Beast is actually mentioned here in Revelation. First of all, turn over to Revelation 13 where the subject is introduced. Now if you want to find out more about the actual mark of the Beast, itself, may I strongly suggest you read the booklet? And in addition to that, that you read the transcript that is now posted or/and listen to the actual sermon itself. I'm not going to go into that. I'm going to go into something that is behind it. I want to look at what is going on today. I want to try and tie it into what we see in the world now. And here, in reviewing what the Bible says, notice in Revelation:

Revelation 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?

Now, the fact is, the ones that are going to stand up to the Beast and stand up to the things that are being brought will be the true Church, because there is a way of looking at certain things that they are quoting that you can undermine and destroy their foundation. What you're looking at with the mark of the beast is the change from Saturday to Sunday, or from Sabbath (sorry) to Sunday -- not Saturday, Sabbath to Sunday, because Sabbath begins from Friday sunset and ends on Saturday sunset.

Revelation 13:8-10 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life [So the ones who have got their names written in the book of life are not going to be worshipping this beast.]of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (9) If any man have an ear, let him hear. [Remember what we just read from Mr. Armstrong, that we also need to hear, we need to heed what these verses are telling us.](10) He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

As we wait, between now and when finally the return of Christ comes, this is our patience. It's not just somebody who literally kills with a sword, or somebody who literally takes into captivity, that is being talked about. It's talking about people who are leading people into captivity NOW. The articles and the people that are putting up for these gay adoption laws and all the rest of it, they are putting people into captivity; and they will go into captivity themselves. These people (that are murdering children in the womb) will themselves be killed.

Again, this is what we must go back to. This is the faith and the patience of the saints. This is what allows us to carry on in this world, understanding that God will sort it out. He will put it right. He will cause these things to occur. This is a promise that we can look at. As we go through and look at the world scene, we can look at this promise as well.

Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

So we're looking at the patience that is necessary as we go forward. So as we prepare to answer, we've got to also be aware that we need to have patience as we do so and look at things in the right way.

Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Now, we are going to have to answer; and we're also going to have to fight against what this is all about, as we'll come on and see.

Revelation 13:16-14:1 And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (17) And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (18) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (14:1) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

So here was the difference: one had the Father's name in their foreheads, and the other had the name of the beast written in their foreheads -- and this mark, this branding, of the beast.

Revelation 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand [so what he's thinking, what he's doing], (10 ) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture [undiluted]into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb [He'll be destroyed.]: (11) And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no restday nor night, who worship the beast and his image [Or, no respite. There's no removal from. In other words, what is going to happen is going to happen; and they have no recourse. They are not able to get out of the situation at all.], and whosoever receives the mark of his name. [And contrasted with that ... ] (12) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

So this contrasts. Again, go back to the sermon that Mr. Armstrong gave. Go back to the booklet "What is the Mark of the Beast?" and read for yourself. And I suggest you do. I suggest you do actually study that and look into that. But we'll move on and we'll actually see a little bit more, because I want to move on to what is currently being said. Now let's just have a look at the verses themselves. I want you to notice in Revelation 15, in the next chapter.

Revelation 15:1-2 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. [So here are the seven last plagues.] (2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Now, this is after the first resurrection. The first resurrection occurs just before chapter 12, in chapter 11. But here you're seeing that the resurrected saints will be there, and they have had their victory. They have overcome this mark. They have been able to answer, to stand-up; and they've been able to answer in the way that they needed to answer. They have. With unswerving faith, with unswerving loyalty to God, they've been able to get up there and give an account. And if we go on a little bit further, to chapter 16:2 another mention.

Revelation 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

So, again, it is this contrast between these two. There's a group that overcomes this; and there's a group that accepts it, that goes along with it. Again, if your actually looking at the situation today, we are heading into a time where there's got to be a moral revival within the Western World. Without that, the Western World is finished. It will not be able to counter Islam, and it will not even be able to counter the emerging China. They just simply will not. There has got to be a moral revival, and that is coming from the Catholic Church. We've got to be aware where it will come from. And from that moral revival, unfortunately, this also comes along with it. And you're looking at this, as you'll see as we go on, you'll see why. Why is it so important for Sunday? What is so special about Sunday? Well, there's a great deal very special about Sunday in the eyes of the present Pope, a great deal.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, [ ... ]

So, they looked upon this spiritual leader doing miracles, and that was what was used to implement this mark and the imposition of, as we understand it, this change from Sabbath to Sunday. And it's not just the change from Sabbath to Sunday. It's the imposition of Sunday and the imposition of what is within Sunday, as we'll go on and see.

Revelation 19:20 [ ... ]before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

And that was the end of those two until their resurrection later on, presumably. In Revelation 20, notice: The ones that are there to be teachers in the future also have overcome this.

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Overcoming that mark is part of the qualifying process certainly for some -- that they will need to go ahead and do that in order to be the teachers in the World Tomorrow. So we do need to go ahead and understand a good deal about this particular subject. As I say, and I keep pointing you back to what Mr. Armstrong has said, but I want to go a little bit into what the present Pope has been saying recently. Here in Revelation, remember, as we'll go on and see, there is a contrast between this mark of the Beast, and in Chapter 14

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

What the Present Pope Has been Saying: (PLAY FROM 33:43)

Now, we'll come on and look at that in a little while; but there are certain scriptures that can certainly throw some light on that. I want to read from the first message that the present Pope gave after his inauguration. This was the College of Cardinals at the Sistine Chapel on Wed. the 20th of April, 2005; and it was given the day after his appointment. And in this particular address, he says:

I seem to hear Peter's words: "You are the Christ..., the Son of the living God", and the Lord's solemn affirmation: "You are 'Peter' and on this rock I will build my Church.... I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (cf. Mt 16: 15-19).

You are Christ! You are Peter! I seem to be reliving the same Gospel scene; I, the Successor of Peter, repeat with trepidation the anxious words of the fisherman of Galilee and listen once again with deep emotion to the reassuring promise of the divine Master.

He goes on, and he says:

In choosing me as Bishop of Rome, the Lord wanted me to be his Vicar [Now, Vicar means substitute.], he wanted me to be the "rock" on which we can all safely stand. I ask him to compensate for my limitations.

Now that's the foundation that he started to go in, in this particular address. He then went on and he said:

My Pontificate begins in a particularly meaningful way as the Church is living the special Year dedicated to the Eucharist. [Now, the Eucharist is the bread and wine, okay? But it's more than that, as we'll go on and see.] How could I fail to see this providential coincidence as an element that must mark the ministry to which I am called? The Eucharist, the heart of Christian life and the source of the Church's evangelizing mission, cannot but constitute the permanent centre and source of the Petrine ministry that has been entrusted to me.....

Now that's Peter. He looks at the Eucharist as being the heart and core. It goes on into another point:

Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 32)

With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. [It's the ecumenical movement that he's talking about, bringing them all back into the fold.] This is his ambition, his impelling duty.

Now, that was from his first mass that he gave, the first message that he gave. That was the day after he was inaugurated. A matter of a month later (This is the 29th of May, 2005.), he went down to Bari for the closing of the 24th Italian National Eucharist Congress; and in that particular place, when he closed this Eucharist congress ... This is why I say, Eucharist. It sounds a great theological word, which it is; but you notice what meaning it has, as far as we're concerned, in the mark of the Beast.

....The intention of this Eucharistic Congress, which ends today, was once again to present Sunday as the "weekly Easter"

Now do you see why the Eucharist is so important? They celebrate the body and blood of Christ every Sunday.

... was once again to present Sunday as the "weekly Easter", an expression of the identity of the Christian community and the centre of its life and mission.

So, if you're going to bring all these people back into the fold, where's your center? It's the Eucharist and Sunday. Now, this is why I say, we've got to be aware. This isn't coming out of a clear blue sky. This is coming from some thinking. It's coming from a concept. And if we're going to answer the Beast, we better understand a little bit about the concept, and also understand a great deal about how to counter that concept. It goes on:

The chosen theme - "Without Sunday we cannot live" - takes us back to the year 304, when the Emperor Diocletian forbade Christians, on pain of death, from possessing the Scriptures, from gathering on Sundays to celebrate the Eucharist and from building places in which to hold their assemblies.

In Abitene, a small village in present-day Tunisia, 49 Christians were taken by surprise one Sunday while they were celebrating the Eucharist, gathered in the house of Octavius Felix, thereby defying the imperial prohibitions. They were arrested and taken to Carthage to be interrogated by the Proconsul Anulinus.

Significant among other things is the answer a certain Emeritus gave to the Proconsul who asked him why on earth they had disobeyed the Emperor's severe orders. He replied: "Sine dominico non possumus": that is, we cannot live without joining together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face our daily problems and not to succumb.

After atrocious tortures, these 49 martyrs of Abitene were killed. Thus, they confirmed their faith with bloodshed. They died, but they were victorious: today we remember them in the glory of the Risen Christ.

The experience of the martyrs of Abitene is also one on which we 21st-century Christians should reflect. It is not easy for us either to live as Christians, even if we are spared such prohibitions from the emperor. From a spiritual point of view, the world in which we find ourselves, often marked by unbridled consumerism, religious indifference and a secularism closed to transcendence, can appear a desert just as "vast and terrible" (Dt 8: 15) as the one we heard about in the first reading from the Book of Deuteronomy.

So, again, who is he attacking there? He's attacking Western culture. And what's the answer? Sunday and the Eucharist. This goes on:

God came to the aid of the Jewish people in difficulty in this desert with his gift of manna, to make them understand that "not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord" (Dt 8: 3).

In today's Gospel, Jesus has explained to us, through the gift of manna, for what bread God wanted to prepare the people of the New Covenant. Alluding to the Eucharist he said: "This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and died nonetheless, the man who feeds on this bread shall live forever" (Jn 6: 58).

Do you see why, now, the Eucharist is so central to binding the church together? It's the same ideas that were there in Worldwide that we've just gone through. They changed the bread of Passover to binding the Church together. It's the same concept of the round disk of the sun that is placed on the tongues of the people. It's the priest who actually has the wine, isn't it? Or do the people have the wine as well? But they go ahead and they have the wine. It's coming from the M-E-S-S, i.e. Mass, which is a drugged drink that was used in pagan times.

It goes on and he says:

In taking flesh, the Son of God could become Bread and thus be the nourishment of his people, of us, journeying on in this world towards the promised land of Heaven...

Now, you've got to understand something about the Eucharist as the Catholics look upon it. The Catholics look upon the subject as transubstantiation. Sorry to give you a theological lesson; but transubstantiation is the concept (and this is what separates the Church of England and the Church at Rome, at the moment) that when you take that bread and you put that little disk or wafer or whatever it is in your mouth and you swallow it, as it goes down the gullet, it changes to the literal body of Christ. And when you drink that wine, and it goes down the gullet, it changes to the literal blood of Christ. That is transubstantiation.

And he goes on and he says:

....But the words that Christ spoke on that occasion have lost none of their clarity: "Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (Jn 6: 53). [You know, we had all this kind of confrontation about this.] Truly, we need a God who is close to us. In the face of the murmur of protest, Jesus might have fallen back on reassuring words: "Friends", he could have said, "do not worry! I spoke of flesh but it is only a symbol. What I mean is only a deep communion of sentiments."

But no, Jesus did not have recourse to such soothing words. He stuck to his assertion, to all his realism, even when he saw many of his disciples breaking away (cf. Jn 6: 66). Indeed, he showed his readiness to accept even desertion by his apostles, while not in any way changing the substance of his discourse:

That is transubstantiation. That is the Eucharist idea that is there within the Catholic Church. And that is, again, bringing people to this Eucharist. It is much, much more than just getting together and sharing bread and wine. He goes on and says:

.....Precisely here in Bari, fortunate Bari, a city that preserves the bones of St Nicholas, a land of encounter and dialogue with our Christian brethren of the East ...


Now what exactly it was that happened at Bari {7} regarding the Christian brethren of the East, I want to read something that Mr. Armstrong brings out in his sermon on "The Mark of the Beast."

And then came the Roman Empire and its two legs, because Rome was divided. And Satan's kingdom is divided. And part of the Roman Empire was in the East and part in the West.

Now incidentally the Roman Catholic Church grew up, but it wasn't all Roman Catholic. There was the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the Roman Catholic Church, and that has come down to today also. However, the Roman Empire fell in 476 and 554, as I said a while ago. Justinian was brought from Constantinople over to Rome to restore the empire in the West.

And it points out, in what he has to say, that when we're looking at this, we're not just looking at the Catholic Church. We're looking at the union of churches -- and in particular, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox, the Russian Orthodox, these churches and the Coptic Church {8} (that side) -- that basically comes together.

... a land of encounter and dialogue with our Christian brethren of the East, I would like to reaffirm my desire to assume as a fundamental commitment working with all my might for the re-establishment of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers.

Do you begin to see? Do you start to see?

I am aware that expressions of good will do not suffice for this. We need concrete acts that penetrate souls and shake consciences, prompting each one to that inner conversion that is the necessary condition for any progress on the path of ecumenism (cf. Message to the Universal Church, Sistine Chapel, 20 April 2005; L'Osservatore Romano English Edition, 27 April, p. 3) ...

So, it is the case of them all getting together. And what is it that they get together under? What is it that all the so-called Christians are united in? It is in the taking of communion on a Sunday. That's what they're united in. All of them take the communion on a Sunday. And there is the identifying sign of the "Christian Church." Doesn't matter where they are. Now the Catholic Church tries to put their Eucharist idea of transubstantiation out there; but, if it were to back off on that and to say, "Okay, fine, we accept that it's not literally the body and blood of Christ that's going to go down the gullet," you could see them coming together in a much easier way.

And they say, "Well, look, this is the only thing that is absolutely essential. All the churches can at least agree on this because Christ is the center." You go back to Worldwide, listen to what Worldwide has to say. "Christ is the center of everything. And that's all there is. Once you've got that, you're a Christian. If you don't have that, you're not a Christian. You're anathema!" You begin to see how you can see the mark of the Beast, and you can start to see what is behind that.

And these things have been very, very ... This [article] is what? 2005. Okay, let's read another one. This is 2007, Vatican City, January 9th. That's not that long ago. Week? Two weeks? This is a letter, a papal letter to Cardinal Arinze. Who is Cardinal Arinze? He is the Cardinal of Onitsha in Nigeria. I've been speaking about this individual and doing a little bit more research on this individual. We need to keep our eyes very, very carefully on that particular man. Notice what is being said by this particular pope to Cardinal Arinze:

To My Venerable Brother, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

So, the one who is there to enforce the sacraments, INCLUDING the Eucharist. It says:

.After reflecting in the past on the Roman Martyrology and on Sacred Music, you are now preparing to examine in depth the theme: "Sunday Mass for the sanctification of the Christian People." Because of its spiritual and pastoral implications, this is a very timely topic.

Too right it is, because he's been talking about this the year before; and he said that this has got to be the central issue in his pastorship.

The Second Vatican Council teaches that "the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the "Lord's Day' or "Sunday'" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 106).

Sunday remains the fertile foundation and at the same time, the fundamental nucleus of the liturgical year which originated in Christ's Resurrection, thanks to which the features of eternity were impressed on time.

Now you start to see where the resurrection starts to come into it and how it's the mystical side.

Thus, Sunday is, so to speak, a fragment of time imbued with eternity, for its dawn saw the Crucified and Risen Christ enter victorious into eternal life.

So the key area is the resurrection. And it says:

From the very outset, this has been a stable element in the perception of the mystery of Sunday: "The Word", Origen affirms, "has moved the feast of the Sabbath to the day on which the light was produced and has given us as an image of true repose, Sunday, the day of salvation, the first day of the light in which the Saviour of the world, after completing all his work with men and after conquering death, crossed the threshold of Heaven, surpassing the creation of the six days and receiving the blessed Sabbath and rest in God" (Comment on Psalm 91). [You start to see how they're switching it?]

Inspired by knowledge of this, St Ignatius of Antioch asserted: "We are no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord's Day" (Ad Magn. 9, 1).

For the first Christians, participation in the Sunday celebrations was the natural expression of their belonging to Christ, of communion with his Mystical Body, in the joyful expectation of his glorious return.

This belonging was expressed heroically in what happened to the martyrs of Abitene, who faced death exclaiming, "Sine dominico non possumus": without gathering together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, we cannot live.

That's what they said. That is their highlight. That is the one they go back to, their saints.

How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord's Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass!

The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from "Christ's Passover, Sunday", should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence.

That includes Europe, obviously. So he is looking at the Western world. Prophetically, the church is going to take control out of this concept--the heart and core. They are going to ride the Beast. And the heart and core of it is this Eucharist on a Sunday.

The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: "On this day Christ's faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who "has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope'" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 106).

Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, "the first day of the week", rose and appeared to the disciples. [...]

Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly.

Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the "Lord's Day", I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life.

Indeed, at every Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the sanctification of the Christian people takes place as it will take place until the Sunday that never sets, the day of the definitive encounter of God with his creatures.

Do you see how much weight they put on this? Do you start to understand where this mark of the Beast is going to come from? How central to the "Christian faith" it is? How they look at it?

In this perspective, I express the hope that the Study Day promoted by this Dicastery on such a timely theme [and he goes on ... ]

May the "Day of the Lord" that could well be called "the lord of days" regain all its importance and be perceived and lived to the full in the celebration of the Eucharist, from which the Christian community grows authentically and on which it depends

Now that individual, Arinze (And I'm sorry if I'm quoting an awful lot about this.): The reason why I say, be aware of this particular individual down in Nigeria, at Onitsha -- having been through Onitsha, having seen what the place is like, having read the articles in the newspapers of the cultism -- this individual, Cardinal Arinze, came out of paganism. He was converted from Juju, basically. That's what he's converted from, at a very young age. He wasn't even into his teens. But his entire background has been in that, and then he was converted to "Christianity;" and notice what he says. This is coming from CATHOLICISM AND ITS OPENNESS TO OTHER RELIGIONS, a lecture given at John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio, 26h October, 2000 by Cardinal Arinze.

Although some missionaries have at times not given sufficient importance to local culture, there is no lack of clarity in the Church's thinking on the matter. [On local culture, notice.] It is refreshing to note that way back in 1659 the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples gave clear instructions on this question to the European missionaries who were being sent to the Far East. It said to them:

"Put no obstacles in their way, and for no reason whatever should you persuade these people to change their rites, customs, and ways of life, unless these are obviously opposed to religion and good morals [ ... ] {9} Admire and praise what deserves to be respected"

That's coming from the Vatican. It says:

Pope Pius XII was equally clear in his insistence that missionaries should respect local customs. In his 1951 Encyclical Letter, Evangelii Praecones, he writes: "The Church from the beginning down to our own time has always followed this wise practice: let not the Gospel, on being introduced into any new land, destroy or extinguish whatever its people possess that is naturally good, just or beautiful. For the Church, when she calls people to a higher culture and a better way of life under the inspiration of the Christian religion, does not act like one who recklessly cuts down and uproots a thriving forest. No, he grafts a good scion upon the wild stock that it may bear a crop of more delicious fruit.

And he goes on. I'll just read this last part. It says:

"This is the reason why the Catholic Church has neither scorned nor rejected the pagan philosophies. Instead, after freeing them from error and all contamination she has perfected and completed them by Christian revelation. So likewise the Church has graciously made her own the native art and culture which in some countries is so highly developed.

What native art and culture does he know about? Again, be aware. Don't go to sleep. Be aware that this individual is going to be working miracles. Through those miracles, the mark of the Beast is going to be implemented. And we see here a cardinal who is coming from that kind of background -- believing that you can go ahead and syncretize the Christian religion, so called, onto the pagan cultures and that's perfectly permissible and the right thing to do, at the same time as this nonsense is coming through about Sunday, the Eucharist, and so on.

So, can you give an answer? Before we go into that, just before we go into that, let's just be aware of something. We just read over in Revelation 14 about how:

Revelation 14:1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

Turn over to Exodus 13 and just remind ourself about this. This mark, this branding that will take place, it is not just Sabbath to Sunday. It also involves, the very central argument they are using is this Eucharist. It is this bread and wine on that Sunday and the way in which their Christ is IN that Sunday. That's what it's all about.

Exodus 13:6-9 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the [ETERNAL]. (7) Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with you, neither shall there be leaven seen with you in all your quarters. (8) And you shall shew your son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the [ETERNAL] did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. (9) And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, [so your right hand and your forehead]that the [ETERNAL'S] law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand hath the [ETERNAL] brought you out of Egypt.

So, coming out of Egypt is the focal point. And that, as far as the Law of God is concerned, the bread of Unleavened Bread, we put into our mouths, going and being obedient to God, being obedient to our Father and being obedient to Jesus Christ, the true Christ. But we need to be aware there is more to it than this. When we're looking at the Mark of the Best, they are taking something that we've fought already. We've fought that battle. We fought the understanding. As far as Passover is concerned, it's to do with forgiveness of sin. That's what the Passover is for, both the bread and the wine. You've got to have forgiveness of sin before you start having Christ in you and all the rest of the aspects. This Living Word within us is the days of Unleavened Bread, going on into Pentecost.

We go through this, year in, year out. So often, it seems that we do it as a ritual. It's not going to be a ritual. It's not going to become a ritual when we have to give an account. When we say, "We're not careful to answer you on this matter, O king."--when they've all bowed down, but we're standing there like lemons amongst the crowd. But, you know, who do we serve? The ones that serve the mark of the Beast will suffer the last plagues, and yet we may have to give our life over this. This is how serious this may be.

The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday: (PLAY FROM 1:00:33)

Now, when we're looking at the subject "The Resurrection is not on Sunday," as I say, I point you back to the article "The Resurrection is Not on Sunday." It's on the website, the booklet written by Mr. Armstrong. But I want to just cover a few areas that I think would be worthwhile covering. If there's one scripture to remember -- if ever you're called before somebody to give an account of the reason for the hope that lies within you, why you do NOT go ahead and believe that Christ rose on Sunday (which is what they say) and the Eucharist should therefore be eaten on a Sunday, which is the entirety of the focal point of this -- it's Matthew 12: 39-40. And it says in verse 38:

Matthew 12:38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you. (39) But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Now, if you read the context of this, what was the sign about? Well, basically that here this individual was healed of a spirit; and they were claiming that He does it by Beelzebub. In other words, doing it by an evil side. He said, "No." Here is the sign of His Messiahship. Here is the sign of Him being who He said He was. And it goes on into the next section.

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Who He was! This is the sign of the Christ! Of whom He actually was!

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

This is the sign. I want you to notice that the sign is NOT the resurrection. That is not the sign! The sign is how long He spent in the heart of the earth and the fact that He was in the grave for a specific length of time. Now, if you've got an Interlinear, where you can see the actual Greek (and the Hebrew if you're looking in the Old Testament), then please get it, and pull it down off the shelf and go and look up this verse. And, in addition to looking at this verse, look also over in Jonah 1:17, because in both cases, in both areas here, you will see, very, very clearly indeed that it is not a day/night.

Let me just read you something. This is coming off Worldwide's website. Let me see if I can find that.

The phrase "three days and three nights" utilizes a Hebrew expression and refers to three units of time called "day-nights." The expression is somewhat like our English word "day," which can mean a 24 hour period, or just the daylight period, or even part of that period. In short, "day" is a very flexible term and so is the Hebrew expression "day-night." We know that the Hebrew expression has this flexibility by noting how it's used elsewhere in Scripture and in Jewish writings of Matthew's day.

We thus learn that "three days and three nights" can be appropriately used by Jesus [ ... ]

You go to your interlinear! You read it! It does not say day/night AT ALL! There is no Day/nights there! And it is not day/nights in both Hebrew and Greek! It is days and nights! Very clear! Again, you're going to have to go in there You can literally see, you can see the Greek, Jonah in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so will be the Son of Man. And it goes on and it says, in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, and it is literally that. And when you go into Jonah, it says:

Jonah 1:17 Now the [ETERNAL] had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

They are specific words. They are not day/nights. So if anybody tries pulling the wool over your head, or over your eyes [Laughs.], then be aware of that, that there's no such, as far as a day/night is concerned, that is just simply not true. And yet, what I want you to understand is that:

Mat 12:39-40 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (40) For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

That is the sign of Jesus' Messiahship! If somebody does not believe that, they don't believe in Jesus as a Messiah. They do not believe in Jesus as the Christ. They are anathema from Christ. That's the real anathema from Christ. Day/nights don't come into it.

Now, another area: Again, please go and read "The Resurrection was Not on Sunday." I haven't got the time to go into it. But you go and you get your interlinear out, and you read in Matthew. Well, let me read it from this one. It says (Matthew 28), let me read it from the Literal Translation. It makes it a bit easier.

Matthew 28:1-2 (LITV) [After]the Sabbaths [plural], at the dawning into the first of the Sabbaths [plural], Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary came to gaze upon the grave. (2) And, behold! A great earthquake occurred!

The plural in that particular section (Again, get your interlinear and check it out.), the plural is both used in the case of, well, let me read it from the King James Version.

Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath [It is at the end of the Sabbaths. It's plural in the original.], as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.

It does not say the first day of the week. It says "the first from the Sabbaths," plural. And every time you find "first day of the week," it is the first from the Sabbath -- singular, normally; but in certain instances, you will find that it is actually plural. Another place is in John.

John 20:1 The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark ...

But in the original it says:

John 20:1 (LITV) But on the first of the Sabbaths [plural], Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb ...

And it doesn't mean "first of." It means the "first from." It's the first day from the Sabbaths, plural. Now the other ones that you'll find is Sabbath, singular. But if you notice here in verse 31:

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Now, again, if it were just an ordinary preparation day, why even mention it was a high day? There were two individual days there. Again, we've got to make sure that we understand Matthew 12: 39-40, that it is the only sign given. And, if we are to get up and give an account -- and say, "We are not careful to answer you in this manner, O king" and actually answer the Beast "for the reason for the hope that lies within us" -- this is the heart and core of it. As far as the Interlinears are concerned, and not even Interlinears, 3 days and 3 nights. It is very, very clear that there are 3 days and literally 3 nights from one to the other. Go back and read "The Resurrection was Not on Sunday." But also, there are plural Sabbaths being mentioned here in both John and also in Matthew. The Sabbath was mentioned as a high day.

Now what the people try and do is they say, "Oh well, therefore the Sabbath, i.e. Saturday, was also the Day of Unleavened Bread;" and add the two together. Well, that also can be knocked on the head. Turn over to Mark 16. Again, I'm hitting the high spots here. I'm not really going into it. I'm going to have to rely on you to go back and study it yourself. Go back to the booklet. It's up on the website. You can download it over whatever. But here in Mark 16, get your interlinear out on this one because on the original, it doesn't translate it very well. I'll quote what the Literal Bible says.

Mark 16:1 (LITV) And the sabbath passing, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices, so that coming they might anoint Him.

So, in other words, you see what it says here:

Mark 16:1 (KJV) And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

That's ambiguous. It is not ambiguous in the original. It is "and the Sabbath passing, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices, so that coming they might anoint Him." So, the Sabbath passed; and then, they brought spices. So, you've got the Sabbath; then they buy the spices. Now, we turn over to Luke 23.

Luke 23:54-56 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. (55) And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. (56) And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

So, you put that together with Mark 16:1 as read in the Interlinear. Make sure you go and put that into your Bible because it's much clearer in an Interlinear, in the original. They try and confuse the issue in the King James. But it is very clear in Mark 16:1 that the spices were bought after the Sabbath. And from Luke 23, coming into verse 56, they actually prepared spices and ointments before the Sabbath. So they had to buy it first. Then they prepared it. Then they had another Sabbath, indicating 2 Sabbath days. There had to be two Sabbath days, two separate Sabbaths. There's not enough to have it all in the same day. That is not the case.

So you're looking at, very clearly, that "three days and three nights" is the only sign that was given. You can go to both Hebrew and the Greek, you can go to the Interlinear; and it is very, very clear that it is the case. You can see in Matthew, and also in the account in John, that it uses the word as a plural for the word Sabbaths. And even the words for the Sunday, for the first from the Sabbaths, it's not first from the Sabbath. It's first from the Sabbaths, plural, that is used in Matthew. And when you put together Mark 16:2 and Luke 23: 56, it is very clear that there is the Sabbath -- after he was buried on the Wednesday evening, there was a Sabbath which lasted from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening. They then purchased after the Sabbath, they then purchased the spices, maybe that evening. Then, during the day on the Friday, they prepared the spices; and then they rested according to the commandment that is mentioned here in verse 56 of Luke 23, which is a Saturday. He was resurrected three days and three nights, exactly.

Again, go back to "The Resurrection was Not on Sunday." It had to be exact in order to fit all the scriptures together on a Saturday evening. If you understand that He was resurrected on a Saturday evening, all this talk about the immortal inhabiting time (and all the rest of it) is a load of bunkum. It doesn't fit. He was NOT resurrected on a Sunday at all. So, when you look at this particular subject, it is very clear. It is very clear. As I say, I've hit the high spots there; but you do need to go back and read "The Resurrection was not on Sunday" and need to understand a little bit in order to be able to give an account, if necessary -- if you are called to account for the REASON for the hope that lies within you.

Now, when we're looking at the change, it wasn't something that was done from scripture. Let me give you a few quotations from various Catholic sources regarding the change.

"From this same Catholic Church you have accepted your Sunday, and that Sunday, as the Lord's day, she has handed down as a tradition; and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it Therefore that which you have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church."--D. B. RAY, "The Papal Controversy," 1892, page 179.

"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 [Now, it's a thousand dollars in 1884, that's a lot of money.] to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. [Now in 1884, he offered a thousand dollars and he never paid it.] There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholics Church alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.' The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church." --T. ENRIGHT, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884. [Now, this was a Bishop.]

Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and did the Church change the seventh day - Saturday - for Sunday, the first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day? I answer no! --James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), in a signed letter.

"Reason and sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible." --JAMES CARDINAL GIBBONS, Catholic Mirror, Dec. 23, 1983.

"The Bible everywhere enforces the sanctification of Saturday the seventh day of the week ... You Protestants have to admit the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that is branded on you when you observe Sunday because you have no other authority for Sunday but that of the Roman Catholic Church." -James Cardinal Gibbons

"Branded!" "Marked!" This is a Catholic, Cardinal Gibbons.

"The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday." -James Cardinal Gibbons, The Catholic Mirror, Sept. 23, 1893

Another one:

We move from the "Sabbath" to the "first day after the Sabbath", from the seventh day to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi!...By contrast, the Sabbath's position as the seventh day of the week suggests for the Lord's Day a complementary symbolism, much loved by the Fathers. Sunday is not only the first day, it is also "the eighth day", set within the sevenfold succession of days...APOSTOLIC LETTER DIES DOMINI OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON KEEPING THE [ETERNAL]'S DAY HOLY May 31, 1998.

Who changed the Feast from the seventh month to the eighth month? That is exactly what -- again, you're looking at Pope John Paul II making that claim for the Catholic Church. Another one:

We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church." --Bishop Seymour, "Why We Keep Sunday."

Understanding the Apostleship of Peter: (PLAY FROM 1:19:31)

So, on these instances, we can see that they claim their authority and they go back, and as we mentioned and read from Benedict's writings, they are looking at, "I am Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." That is what they do. It's the apostleship area.

Now, I don't know whether I'm going to have time to read these scriptures. I don't think I'm going to have time to read them. I think I'm going to have to just quote them to you, and you're going to have to read them in your own time. I might read some of them; but anyway, if you want to go ahead and disprove the fact that Peter was in Rome, you can do it from scripture. The idea that Peter was the apostle of the Romans is nonsense. And just in the way you can show that the resurrection was not on Sunday, and there are certain key scriptures to use; there are key scriptures you can use to undermine this "apostolic authority" of the Roman Catholic Church.

First of all, if you want to put it in your notes, the fact that in all the prison epistles there is no greeting from Peter. Now, these prison epistles are when Paul was in prison IN ROME! It is inconceivable that he wouldn't say, "Peter also passes greetings" if he'd been there. The prison epistles are Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Philippians (and there is debate about the authorship of Hebrews) but Hebrews is there as well; and II Timothy in his second spell in prison. He doesn't mention Peter at all in ANY of them.

Another one you can put down, is Acts 28:15. Let's turn these. Maybe we can turn to some of them. Why don't we do that? If we go a little bit overtime ... ... right at the end of the book of Acts. We find here, at 59 A. D., notice:

Acts 28:15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

(That is always amusing for those of us over here, because Courage is the name of a beer over here. [Laughs.] So he went to the three taverns and took Courage, but never mind.) He does not mention Peter there at all!

Acts 28:23-24 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (24) And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

It was pretty clear that they hadn't heard this. Now, if Peter had been there, they'd have heard it; but they had not heard it. And you're looking, you're long in there, 59 A.D. Another one you can put in your notes, Galatians 2:7-9 {10}. Peter was sent to the circumcision. He wasn't sent to the Gentiles. But if you'll turn over to II Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

This is the very job of Paul; and it's very clear that, when he went to Rome, he taught the Gentiles there. He was their apostle. It wasn't Peter. So this is 2 Timothy 1:11. Again, you're looking at II Timothy; and remember, this is his second imprisonment. This is way down the line. And when you're looking at chapter 4 notice, here he is in Rome, second imprisonment, giving an account before the people that are there.

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

And notice of the actual ministers there, of the senior people, only Luke was there, that was actually with him.

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.

If Peter would have been the Bishop of Rome at that time, he would have been in the dock, not Paul. Certainly, Peter, as the key individual as far as Christianity is concerned, it's inconceivable that Paul would be the one that this is put there alone. Turn over to Romans 1. I said I wasn't going to read this, didn't I? Never mind. Let's actually go through them. Now he's talking to the Romans, writing to the Romans.

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established.

So again, if Peter had been there, they would have had their spiritual gift from Peter. What's Paul doing, writing and giving them a spiritual gift to be established? Where's this "Bishop" of Rome? He doesn't exist. That's the reason why.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy [Spirit].

Not Peter, but Paul; Paul was the one that was offering up to God the Gentiles.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation.

So Peter had never been there. Paul was the one going in to the Romans. He was "the Bishop of Rome" if you want it that way. Another one, you can put down in your notes, is II Corinthians 10:13-16 {11} that also goes into the same subject as far as he does not build on another man's foundations; and therefore, in the case of Rome, he was not building on Peter's foundation. Peter was NOT the Bishop of Rome. He couldn't have been. Within this section here in chapter 16, there are 28 people mentioned by name -- and Peter isn't amongst them.

So you put these things together; and you see very clearly, that no, it simply could not be. It just could not be that Peter simply was not the Vicar at Rome. He wasn't there at all. You're looking at Paul being the Bishop at Rome if you're looking at anybody.

Okay, let's just turn over to Daniel and finally close, in Daniel. Here were some people that went before us, proceeded before us; and we're looking at an unwavering response from them that had taken place and was given to Nebuchadnezzar, as he says here in Daniel.

Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar ...

As the one that was the head of gold in this Babylonish system that's going to last right the way through to the end time, be revived for a final time, and impose at that time the mark of the Beast and this Eucharist-fueled idea -- this concept; and presumably bringing the "Christian" churches together under this banner. That's what appears to be the case.

Daniel 3:16 O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter.

There was a certain resilience. There was an unwavering attitude of mind. What was brought out last week was absolutely dead right! We have got to have an unwavering attitude of mind. But notice where their confidence lay:

Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

"We're not going to mince our words about this." Their faith was in God. That was their strength. That was the source of their strength.

Daniel 3:18 But if not, be it known unto you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.

"We are not going to bow down to this image. We're not going to go ahead and serve this Beast. And we're not going to go ahead and be branded with this day that you've fraudulently foisted on the world, because, quite frankly, you don't have the authority of the Apostle Peter. You don't understand the Apostleship at all. Peter wasn't in Rome. And in addition to that, as far as the resurrection is concerned, the only sign was that He'd be three days and three nights [It's very, very clear.] in the heart of the Earth. That was the only sign of His Messiahship. He therefore died on a Wednesday evening, and He was resurrected on a Saturday evening. By the time Sunday came along, He'd already been resurrected. So the very foundation on which you base the entire Sunday argument is false and flawed."

So both areas are false and flawed; and, basically, as Mr. Armstrong said:

This whole system of Gentile governments began with Nebuchadnezzar; and now we find the LAST RESURRECTION OF IT IS COMING UP. AND IT MEANS SOMETHING TO YOU AND ME. AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE ENFORCED, AND YOU ARE GOING TO RISK YOUR LIFE ON IT in the very near future. It is speaking of these very same things. Jesus said, "He that hath an ear, let him hear." And I say to you, if you have ears to hear, you BETTER hear; and you had BETTER UNDERSTAND. And don't take this lightly, because your life is going to be at stake. -- Sermon Transcript, Mark of the Beast, Dec. 11, 1982 by Herbert W. Armstrong.

Pretty sobering words; but nevertheless, with God's help, we can indeed have an unwavering understanding and be able to give that unwavering explanation, if necessary, if we're called to do it -- because the Spirit of God is far, far stronger than the spirit of Satan. We don't need to fear. We don't even need to fear about when we're dragged before courts. We don't need to pre-worry about it and become unglued. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said, "We're not careful even to answer in this. We will simply serve God, regardless." And that's also what our approach needs to be as well.


Transcribed by JF February, 2007

{1} 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

{2} John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

{3} World Net Daily article can be located at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53964

{4} Article can be found at: http://www.nysun.com/article/47397

{5} Article can be found at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/portal/main.jhtml?xml=/portal/2007/01/25/ftadopt125.xml

{6} Article can be found at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/11/weuright11.xml

{7} Bari, Italy is often referred to as the bridge between the East and the West because despite it being located in Italy, it is closely tied to the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is considered fortunate for housing the bones of St. Nicholas, who are revered by both the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church members for the miracle liquid called Manna, that is harvested from the bones and said to produce miraculous healings on those who use it. Presently there is a petition to have the bones and other relics of St. Nicholas returned to Myra, Turkey, from where they were taken back in 1057. The Pope may consider using them as a bargaining chip toward bringing the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church a step closer toward unifying Europe once again under a Roman Catholic Papacy.

{8} The Coptic Orthodox Church is the Egyptian version of Catholicism.

{9} [ ... ] what Mr. Bowles left out for times sake: "For what is more absurd than to bring France or Spain or Italy or any other part of Europe into China? It is not these that you should bring but the faith which does not spurn or reject any peoples' rites and customs, unless they are depraved, but on the contrary tries to keep them." (CollectaneaSCPF1, n.135, P.42) emphasis mine.

{10} Galatians 2:7-9 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (8 ) (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) (9 ) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

{11} 2 Corinthians 10:13-16 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. (14 ) For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: (15 ) Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, (16 ) To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.

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